The two things I hate the most are weddings and funerals. The only thing worse than going to a wedding is gigging at a wedding.
I really can’t understand why someone would hire my band for a wedding. We’re a loud, fast, obnoxious rock & roll/punk band. We don’t do sappy slow tunes. Your wedding isn’t going to be like the gig we played for you at your frat house.
The first problem with weddings is the dress code. When I play drums I wear shorts, tshirt and usually no shoes or sandals. I HATE long sleeves and I get really freaking hot playing the drums so I just won’t wear them. No disrespect to the bride & groom, but this is rock & roll. I’m up there bashing the skins and working up a sweat and I need to be as cool and comfortable as possible.
The 2nd and terribly corny thing I hate about wedding gigs is the “theme song.” The bride & groom always want to you play some stupid ass, gay, sappy, dreary love song. My band hasn’t rehearsed since the 80’s and you think we’re going to learn some stupid Huey Lewis song for your wedding? Think again. So we bring a CD and let them play their stupid theme over the PA.
The 3rd problem with wedding gigs is the fact that you are going to please just about no one. You have grandma coming up to the band asking for Frank Sinatra, the kiddies are asking for the Hokey Pokey and the pot smoking teens asking for Metallica. Ok folks, we’re going to do a combination of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets and the Hokey Pokey, sung in the style of Frank Sinatra. Perfect.
4th issue is the “schedule”: They always want you to setup at freaking 10:00am so they can do their full day of wedding celebration. Memo to you folks out there. Don’t ask a rock & roll musician to set up at 10:00am. Hell, by 10:00am I’ve been asleep for about 20 minutes.
Rolling in at number 5 of the most irritating things about a wedding gig is that they want you to play “dinner music.” My band is a punk/surf/modern rock band. If we played dinner music for you, you’d probably choke on your terrible hotel food.
I love it when they have an open bar at the wedding gigs. I hit the wine pretty hard and it makes the gig much more entertaining. Our guitar player makes things very entertaining during wedding gigs. We’ll be playing and looking out at the audience. Just about nobody is paying attention to anything we’re doing on the stage. We could be blowing fire out our asses and no one would notice. So that being the case, our guitar player will intentionally hit terribly sour notes. First he’ll hit one and then look at me for my watery-eyed reaction. Then he’ll hit a couple of sour notes. By the end of the tune, I’m about ready to die from laughter because the guitar player is now playing every chord and note 1/2 a step off. So every note he plays is about as bad sounding as it can get. No one notices. Then I look out in the audience and see that happy guy video taping this beautiful event. I start to think about 10 years from now when the bride and groom decide to get that old wedding video out and watch it. They’ll then realize that my band has absolutely butchered the show.
We tend to weed out the old people at wedding gigs pretty fast. We’ll play some pretty “loud” music and I’ll bash the shit out of my drums. If they have real balls they’ll ask us to turn down (which we won’t). The old folks take off early which leaves the drunk younger people who for some strange reason think we’re better than the Beatles. “Dude, you rock.” Yeah pal, right. We’re frigging rocking out at a wedding…right.
By the last tune, I’m so ready to go home I’m about to throw up all over myself. We finish the last tune, then the 3 boneheads that are still there start yelling “encore, encore.” Holy shit are you kidding me? Encore for 3 drunk boneheads at a wedding? Yes, sure. Unbelievably our guitar player/singer obliges them and starts up an encore tune. I could just about kill him for making me stay another 3 minutes in this hell.
6 replies on “Wedding gigs suck”
Wedding gigs are indeed totally bizarre. One of my most disappointing gigs was a wedding gig Naked April played – actually one on which you helped out by playing drums, with Matt H. joining on theremin. Personally, I thought Naked April kinda sucked out, all night. You and Matt acquitted yourselves nicely (even if you hadn’t, you had an excuse, having playing with Naked April for exactly one gig before), but the regular band members just weren’t listening to each other. (Of course, close listening wouldn’t have been easy to do: stage sound sucked, as it often does when you’re on a temporary platform stuck in the middle of a garden, one foot away from all the guests.)
But wouldn’t you know it: at the end, even after you and Matt packed up and split (lucky bastards), the guests (and the happy couple) were pleading for more. We actually turned into a cover band (shudder!) for 30 minutes.
It’s the kind of gig where you want to grab people in the audience by the shoulders, shake them, and say: “Just what band were you listening to? It sure as hell can’t have been US!”
On the other hand, I have really enjoyed playing the KR/NB duo gigs at weddings. For one thing, as long as no one listens to the lyrics, much of the music doesn’t seem that out of place, when played by an acoustic duo; for another, the fact that we aren’t really the focus of attention gives us a low-pressure opportunity to try out new music, or new arrangements, and get some kind of feedback – from the three or four people who are actually paying attention.
But all in all, I’d rather stab myself in the eye than have to play wedding gigs for a living.
The thing I remember most vividly about that gig was the chant of, “Theremin solo! Theremin solo!” exclaimed by some of the guests. That was cool!
This totally reminds me of a wedding that I recently attended…The bride and groom were standing at the alter, holding hands and gazing into each others eyes. And then the music started…”Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, blasting though the horribly bad PA system. Then they had by ex-boyfriends band ( Dama, a *very* hard rock band) play the reception…
White trash wedding, anyone?
White trash? Absolutely! But that sounds like a wedding I’d like to go to, or actually be in the crappy band! Please tell me the band was wearing suits or tuxes.
I can’t stop laughing thinking about “Nothing Else Matters” jamming during a reception… 😀
Just found this blog, so I know I’m late to the party. Too funny not to comment. I tend to agree that weddings (playing or going) suck. My band has had the good fortune to play 2 weddings. One was a very nice affair by a river officiated by hot twins and the bride specifically requested we play The Gourds’ version of “Gin and Juice.” (See her reaction here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGJBu9isaYs) That was a good sign. The other is coming up and the bride, an event planner who has booked us before, wants The Killers, Pink Floyd, Billy Idol and Seven Mary Three. Another good sign. She’s getting married on the Governor’s mansion grounds in an old house and has set up a massive party tent outside for the band to play in. We get to play whatever we want. Another good sign.